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Recently, in elementary and lower secondary schools, much effort has been made in Japan to accomplish the aims of moral education, by requiring separate scheduled hours for moral education.
The purposes of moral education are shown in the following summary of general principles established in the Course of Study issued by the Ministry of Education.
Moral education aims to develop a Japanese citizen who will never lose the consistent spirit of respect for his fellow man; who will realize this spirit at home, at school and in other actural life situations in the society of which he is a member; who strives for the creation of a culture rich in individuality and for the development of a democratic nation and society; and who is able to make a voluntary contribution to the peaceful international society.
In order to attain this aim, the following contents is sought in moral instruction in elementary schools.
1) Contents mainly related to the fundamental patterns of behavior in daily life': to maintain safety and secure good health; to develop self-reliance; to observe good manners; to keep oneself neat; to improve the environment; to use things and money effectively; to recognize the value of time.
2) Contents mainly related to 'moral sentiment and moral judgement': to respect others' personality; to control oneself and act according to one's beliefs; to act freely according to one's own judgement or wishes and on one's own responsibility; to be honest and sincere; to love justice and be courageous; to over come difficulties in order to accomplish right aims; to reflect on oneself, listen to the advice of others, and to act with deeper consideration; to act moderately, without selfishness; to behave always with alertness, courtesy and alacrity; to take good care of animals and plants; to have a pure mind.
3) Contents mainly concerned with the 'development of personality and a creative attitude toward life': to recognize one's own special ability, and try to strengthen it; to strive for the achievement of worthy purposes, and to set for oneself a high goal; to act rationally; to tr3r to improve life with original ideas; always to maintain a studious attitude, and try to pursue truth; to apply positively new ideas.
4) Contents mainly related to the concept that 'good manners and practical will are indispensable for the member of a nation or a society': to be kind to everybody and to care for the weak or unfortunate; to respect those who devote themselves to the service of others and to appreciate their work; to trust each other and to be friendly; to be fair and impartial to everybody; to be generous; to observe rules and promises; to differentiate between rights and duties; to appreciate labor; to protect public property and public morality'; to love one's family; to love one's school; to love the nation with a pride as a Japanese; to understand correctly the people of all the world and cooperate in a friendly manner with them.
The contents of moral education for lower secondary schools are almost the same as those for the elementary schools. However, in considering the stages of pupils' development, the following objectives are added:
To build an attitude of constructive criticism; to develop mutual under-standing and respect between the sexes; to promote open and pure friendship between the sexes; to promote love of truth; to lead pupils to consider what true happiness is and to seek it; to help pupils to enrich their own sentiments; to aid in understanding the inherited culture and to contribute to cultural improvement; to teach pupils to hold humanity in mind always; to train pupils to challenge evil with courage; and not have a narrow fellow-mindedness, but to act with consciousness of being a member of the large community.
In upper secondary schools, "ethics-civics" created as a new subject in the social studies, is intended to develop students who know the human relations in the present society, understands humanity and pursues the ideal in the life of the world.
Moral education is to be conducted from the broad point of view through all the activities of the school. Consequently, moral instruction is provided by combining properly various teaching methods, such as discussion, stories to1d by teachers, reading Of b00ks, audio-visual aids, dramatizing and non-classroom activities. In 1963, in order to aid in effectuating the new program of moral instruction, the Ministry of Education published 'Teachers' Manual for Moral instruction' and distributed it through the country to guide classroom teachers at each level in the preparation of their moral education hour.
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